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      City commissioners vote on health plan

      Albany city commissioners held a special called meeting Wednesday afternoon in order to select an option for the 2013-2014 city employee health care plan and vote to approve the item.Commissioner Ivey Hines made a motion to approve Option 1A and Commissioner Roger Marietta seconded the motion.Four commissioners voted for Option 1A while three voted against that choice.Roger Marietta wanted to make an amendment to Option 1A for pre-retirees. This adds a portion of Option 1B will be added to 1A. Under the amendment the benefits of pre-retirees will not increase by more than 15 percent.Before a vote was made, commissioners wanted to fully understand all options.There are two plan types; the base plan and buy-up plan. In those plans there are four options.Each option presents a choice for cost sharing between the employer and employees.Not matter which option is chosen, the cost of the plan will increase by 5.5 percent.Option 1A has zero increase for employees enrolled in the base plan but the largest increase for the city and Albany Water, Gas, and Light. Those in the buy-up plan would have an increase.Option 1 and 1B all plans have an increase.Option 2 has the most drastic increase for employees and the smallest increase on the city.Commissioner Bob Langstaff says he likes Options 1 or 1B more than 1A because the goal should be for employer to pay 75 percent of healthcare costs and city pays 75 percent. However for the past few years the city has paid 80 percent of the cost.Commissioner Tommie Postell wanted to know when was the deadline to present this information to the board. He says if employees are given 100 percent of increase then the budget won't have to be amended.City Manager James Taylor says if their is no change in the healthcare plan, it will cost the city $15.8 million dollars. It costed the city $14.7 million last year.97 percent of employees participate in the healthcare assessment, which is a requirement to use the Wellness Center.Commissioners wanted to know what is the impact of the Wellness Center.City Manager James Taylor answered that the center has been beneficial. Claims cost went down in the first year of the Wellness Center. That's approximately $7,000 deferred because of the center. Taylor is expecting that the facility will help save costs.Commissioner Jon Howard and Mayor Dorothy Hubbard wanted to know if all options have been exhausted for the employee health plan.Taylor added there's always other options but they are looking for the best options for the city and employees.Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!